Tag Archive | prayer

Hold to, spur on, meet and encourage!

Last week my husband and I spent a week vacationing in the Dominican Republic. It was a great rest for both of us. We were fortunate enough to meet some new friends who are currently missionaries there. One is a fellow blogger.  It was such a blessing to meet people who are helping people in the most practical ways, right where the rubber meets the road. People who are not afraid to get their hands dirty when reaching down to help others in some pretty dark places. It encouraged me to do more.

Meeting with fellow believers should do just that. If we are fulfilling the plan God has for our lives it should encourage others to do the same.  We need each other. We all have times of discouragement and difficulty but God has provided us with a very large family! A family we can turn to for support, encouragement and love. A family of likeminded people who can keep us grounded in the Word of God and keep us in check should we begin to wander into the wider path.

Though our relationship with Christ must be personal, He has given us a large family for support, correction, love and to labor alongside of. The Word of God tells us just how important it is that we maintain relationship with our spiritual family.

Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

When we look around us today we can be assured that the Day of Christ’s return is not that far off. It is so important that as the days grow more evil, we spur one another on toward love and good deeds. There will be times we will feel discouraged with what we see happening but that is not the time to stop sharing the gospel, doing good deeds or being the hands and feet of Christ. It will be the time to spur one another on!  We must not give up meeting together. As the Lord’s return draws closer we must stop making excuses of why we cannot get to church, or bible study or any other gathering of the body of Christ. There is nothing more important than growing in our faith and doing His works! We need one another’s support and wisdom.  And lastly, we must encourage one another all the more as time passes. God has created each of us with a need for others. He did not create us to be an island of our own. We need to be available and supportive to our brothers and sisters in Christ for prayer, sharing of the Word and fellowship.

Lord I pray today that You will reveal to us how important it is that we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, our hope in the return of our beautiful Savior! Open our eyes to see how important it is that we spur on one another in good deeds! Help us to realize the importance of meeting regularly with our church families! Help us to encourage one another as You would encourage us Lord.  Let us not be found sleeping when You return, but let us be found busy doing Your works inside the church and outside the church.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

Is your prayer life lacking?

 I have come to really enjoy my prayer time. I love spending time talking to the lover of my soul. It is no longer a chore or done out of a sense of obligation. It is done out of love and a longing to spend time with God. The change began to take place when I began to spend more time reading my Bible and realizing just how much I am loved!  Without that time in God’s Word, I would still be praying out of a sense of duty but it is because of the life His Word has breathed into me, I am now aware that my prayers are not said in vain but through Christ, are direct words shared with the Creator of the Universe!

The more time I spend soaking in His Word, the more I love to spend time talking to Him. It has opened up the line of communication between me and my Creator! It is abiding. As we read the Word, we become convicted of things in our lives we need to get rid of or surrender to God. As we shed these things and align our lives with His Word, our intimacy grows. Gone is the shame and separation that so often keep us from being able to boldly go before His throne. Through our faith in Christ, we know we can ask for forgiveness and be cleansed and renewed and move forward in what God has in store for us. The more we learn of Him, the more we long to be like Him!

Abiding is the secret to seeing our prayers answered. Why? Because when we abide in Christ, we no longer ask for things that are outside the will of God, not only for us but for others. As in any relationship, you must spend time getting to know another before you can really share anything of  depth. You wouldn’t share a deep hurt or wound with a complete stranger, or ask for their help if you didn’t know them. You wouldn’t feel you had the right to expect from them when you didn’t know them and hadn’t invested anything in a relationship with them. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we don’t read His Word and learn of who He is and what  He has done for us, than we really don’t know how to approach Him. We may throw up an occasional prayer now and then but won’t really spend the time with Him that we need to in order to cultivate intimacy.

In the book of John we read the words of Jesus 15:1-11 NIV 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you.No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

If you are lacking a desire to pray, get back into the Word of God and reacquaint yourself with God and His awesome love for you that He willingly demonstrated through Jesus.  Spending time in the Word of God will increase your faith and give you fresh revelation of who Jesus is and how much He loves you!  As you begin to fathom just how great that love is, you will long to spend more time with Him in prayer, praying things in line with His will for you and others!

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C.H. Spurgeon

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Prayer, access to the throne!

As followers of Christ we have so many fantastic blessings! Our salvation has been bought with the high price of the shed blood of God’s own Son. When we think on this alone, we begin to realize how much God loves us! How Christ paid the ultimate price for us to be able to be in intimate fellowship with the Father! One of those fantastic blessings is the ability to go to God in prayer. It’s important that when we come to God in prayer that a few things are considered….
If you are seeking God for an answer to prayer, first off ensure that what you are asking lines up with His will by making sure it does not go against His Word. He will never go against His nature or His Word. Isaiah 55:11 NIV 11So is my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

If your prayer request lines up with His Word then be sure that you have come before Him with a clean heart. If you have unconfessed sin or bitterness against another you need to confess it and make it right. The Word of God tells us that we are not to come before God with unforgiveness in our hearts towards another or He will not hear our prayer. Mark 11:25 NIV And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.

If we know that are prayer lines up with God’s Word and have come to Him with a clean heart than we are to come expecting and believing. James 1:5-7 NIV 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

It’s important we never forget, that one of the amazing privileges of being a child of God is that through Christ we can come boldy before the throne of God and make our requests known. Through the blood of Christ being shed for us, when God sees us He sees us as covered in the precious shed blood of His Son. It allows us to ask boldy from a Father that loves us and has made a way for us to come into His presence with complete confidence.   Hebrews 4:16 KJV16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God longs for us to have intimacy with Him and through Christ, we have direct access to the throne of God. Take full advantage of one of our greatest blessings! Don’t waste another day without spending time in prayer!

Faith like a child

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Matthew 18:4

  While enjoying my morning coffee, I was thinking  of a day I spent with my awesome granddaughters this past summer.   We set out early and spent all day  together having a blast. We went to the Peterborough zoo.  We started out by checking out the animals, one by one and ended the day at the water park. The girls loved it. Though the zoo is small and relatively simple, it was fun.

 What came to mind was an incident that took place in front of the deer cage. The girls ran from one cage to another and raced on just ahead of me to see the deer. Suddenly they stopped and pushed their faces up to the fence.  I could see them chatting about something when I finally caught up.

They both turned to me and said, “Grandma we need to pray, we need to pray!” I wasn’t sure what had just happened in the matter of seconds so I asked them what we needed to pray about. They quickly pointed to a deer, favoring one leg and limping about in the cage. “Ohhhh I see,” I responded.  I told them we could pray later but they insisted we stop and pray right there on the sidewalk in front of the cage. Here they were at 4 and 7 years of age and it was their first response!

So we prayed. Right there with people walking past us. I was so proud of the two of them. They saw something hurting and wanted to do the only thing we could do, pray! They didn’t postpone what could be done right then and there. Simple but beautiful!

Lord let me keep life simple and bring everything to you sooner rather than later!  Let me trust in you as little ones do!

Matthew 18:4 NKJV Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 11:25,26 NKJV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

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Dare to pray specifically

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John 14:13,14 NIV 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

I am seeing so many prayers answered lately. I am a little overwhelmed from time to time with just how incredibly loving and faithful God is when we pray according to His will. As I have committed myself to walking closer to Christ, my prayers have changed. In the past I would often pray with selfish motives. I need, I want etc. etc… Now I find myself praying more for others and in the process God has been taking care of all my needs. The word of God says in James 4:3 NIV When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. That verse sums of a great deal of my past prayers. Does it mean God does not want us to bring our needs to Him? NO, He desires that we bring our needs before Him. Phillippians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ, we find ourselves giving things over to Him much faster and easier than we used to. This frees us up to pray and interceed for others!  The focus is no longer on our own needs and wants but on the needs of others around us.

One of the things that I have begun to do different in my prayer life is to pray specifically. I used to pray general prayers, perhaps because I would often pray with unbelief and if I wasn’t too specific than I wouldn’t really get disappointed if I didn’t see results. However, spending more time  in God’s word and prayer has given me a boldness to pray specifically. I trust God to hear and answer my prayers because it goes against His very nature to ignore His children. When we are walking in His will and we come to Him in the name of His precious Son, He cannot ignore us. There are too many scriptures to list them all but here are but a few to illustrate this.. John 14:13-14 NIV 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

We serve a mighty God that hears the prayers of His children and delights in answering those prayers. If there are areas of your life that are keeping you from walking in that intimacy with Him, confess them and be washed clean in the blood of Christ. It enables you to come before your Father.  Don’t let sin or an ongoing pattern of behavior keep you away from the lover of your soul. The word says in Psalm 37:4 NIV Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  He longs to hear and answer our prayers as we yield our lives to Him and walk in His ways.

I now have the confidence to come before the throne praying specifically without fear of disappointment! As I delight myself in Him, He does give me the desires of my heart!  Does this confidence come from my “righteousness or goodness” thankfully NO because on my own merit I fail miserably in both. This confidence comes from understanding who Christ is and what He has done for each and every one of us. The high price He paid on the cross enables us to have fellowship with the Creator of the Universe and all the privileges that come along with that!   What is available to me is available to everyone who accepts Christ into their life! Acts 10:34-35 KJV 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.  

Delight yourself in Him and take Him at His word! Trust Him to hear and answer you as you pray specifically. He is faithful to His word!

He is NEVER late

We live in a rushing world. We rush to work, rush home to get dinner going, rush to the babysitters etc.. Seldom do we do things at a comfortable pace. Many of us our busy with our  jobs, family, cell phones, tv, internet and  electronic gadget and games! We move constantly, seldom taking the time to relax or unwind without filling that time with some type of distraction.

When we text, email or facebook message someone we are often annoyed if they do not respond immediately. We expect instant answers and responses.  People expect to be able to reach us through one means or another just about any hour of the day or night!  If we need information on anything we google it and receive info often within seconds. Waiting patiently has become a thing of the past.

When we spend so much of our life in high speed mode, it’s not surprising that we often come to God wanting instant answers. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, God does NOT work on our time schedule. 🙂 As we read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oftentimes, it is our arrogance and selfish nature that demand instant gratification with regards to our prayer life. We think we know how best to resolve a situation and basically tell God what He needs to do to bring the resolution about. Thankfully, He seldom does things as we expect.  He knows so much more..including the beginning and the end of things. He knows the heart of the people we may be working with, He knows the overall situation and circumstance and isn’t just interested in our interests but all His kids interests. He looks at the long term results of our character and what He wishes to accomplish in and through our lives. It is out of love for us that He  may delay an answer or deny us our request. He will NEVER respond to our prayers contrary to His word. He will NEVER respond against His very nature. He WILL respond at the right time with an answer that demonstrates His love and His nature, even if that response happens to be NO. Just as a loving parent at times will withhold something from their child knowing it is not in their best interest, so will God withhold from us anything that is not in His best interest for us. We are changing from glory to glory daily and part of that is becoming more Christlike in our character. Answering all our prayers in the way we want them answered could prevent this!

One of the most dramatic examples of God’s perfect timing in response to prayer can be found in the book of John. We read the story of Mary and Martha and their sick brother Lazarus.  John 11:1-44 NIV 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 

There were so many ways Jesus could have answered Mary and Martha’s prayers prior to Lazarus’ death. All it would have take would have been for Him to speak the word and Lazarus would have been healed. His will however, was to allow him to die and be resurrected thereby increasing the faith of the witnesses and glorifying God even more!  His ways are NOT our ways!

The more we spend time in God’s word and in prayer, the more we come to understand how very much God loves us!  The more we understand this, the more we are able to trust Him, even when He says no or not now. It is never out of cruelty but always out of  love. God is the Creator of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega and we must remember that when we come before Him.  He will not be manipulated or strong armed into doing things our way or else. Instead we can come before Him, through Christ,  and make our requests known and then trust that He who ALWAYS looks out for our long term best interest, will answer our prayer when and as He sees best.

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Trials=Opportunities

Sometimes the beautiful, sweet things God does on our behalf overwhelm me. Just in the last two weeks I have seen God’s hand move so wonderfully in my life and in the lives of those around me.  He has answered so many prayers for myself and others. He has given water in dry places, He has healed people we have prayed over, He has provided financially for needs that seemed impossible. We serve an awesome, loving God that delights in the prayers of His kids. As we yield our lives to Him, He never disappoints.

Since my husband received a cancer diagnosis in June, God has been taking care of so many details in our lives. I have no fear of the future. He is in this journey with us every step of the way. He has given me a peace that I cannot even describe. He continues to take care of our present and future needs, sometimes with great precision. We were told we would have trials and tribulations in this world and that we are not to be surprised. James 1:2-4 NIV Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

 Every trial is an opportunity to see the mighty hand of God work in our lives. I believe this to be true. I have seen it many times in my own life. We don’t wish to go through trials and we don’t choose them but when they come, and they will come, we are able to witness our Heavenly Father’s beautiful hand in even the finest details.

If you are going through a trial right now, don’t look to the right or left but look to Christ for peace that only He can offer, and ask for God to make Himself known in your trial. When we seek Him, He will always been found.   Here are a few verses to consider…

Psalm 112:6-8 NIV Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever . They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.   We don’t have to stress or worry about our circumstances. As followers of Christ, we have One looking out for us at all times. One who answers often before we even ask. One who will never leave us or forsake us.

Matthew 6:31-33 NIV 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Seek Him and trust Him and He will not disappoint you. In fact, you will begin to see His beautiful hand move in your life in ways you could never imagine.  We serve an awesome God!

Trials and Tribulations

Prayer DOES change things!

I was thrilled this weekend to hear that Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was released from an Iranian prison after three years of imprisonment.  Pastor Nardarkhani had been  charged with apostasy and was given a death sentence for being a Christian in Iran and for refusing to recant his faith in Christ. I and thousands of other Christians, worldwide had been praying for his release. Thanks to the International Christian Concern organization, his plight was made known to tens of thousands of believers. Through facebook and Twitter his name was kept in the public eye.  The pressure they kept up and their monthly reminders for prayer had many of us interceding on his behalf.  I have no doubt whatsoever that God heard our prayers and answered!  Not all of our brothers and sisters in Christ will be released from their plights as it’s not always God’s will. Obviously God has a bigger purpose for Pastor Nardarkhani being a free man.  I do believe, however, that the fervent prayers of righteous men and women helped to accomplish this!

God calls each of us to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Our prayers can make all the difference in the world. When I was reading my devotions last night, I was reminded again of the beautiful power in collective prayer. It is found in  Acts 12:1-11 NIV 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

Wow, what an answer to the cries of the church! Similarly, the odds of Pastor Nardarkhani being released from an Iranian prison were very slim. It was the obedient response of the church to pray unceasingly on his behalf that brought about his release.  I am sure Pastor Nardarkhani would agree!

When you have a need go to God in prayer and watch His hand move in amazing ways to bring it to pass.  Jesus promised that we would not only do things He did but that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would do even greater things.  John 14:12 NIV 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Through Christ, God has provided this amazing tool that allows us all to  boldly come before His throne with our requests. He hears the prayers of His kids. Collective prayer offers a special promise.. Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. What an awesome promise from an awesome God!

Keep prayer as a mainstay in your life. Don’t allow anything to come between you and your intimacy with God. Pray for others. If you want the support of many, ask others to pray for you and or your situation. Too often we don’t see results in our lives because our prayer life is lacking.

Leonard Ravenhill was a true man of God. An Evangelist and author, he spent his life focusing on the importance of prayer and revival.  His words still ring true today,“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing, the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few slingers;lots of pastors, few wrestlers;many fears, few tears;much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors;many writers but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Prayer: James 5:16

Prayer: James 5:16

The Importance of Praise

I attend a church where praise and  worship are very important. We have a Pastor that has the heart of a worshipper and therefore encourages praise and worship.  It is such a beautiful part of our services. I also love to listen to worship music outside the walls of the church. It is a big part of my life. Today there are so many amazing singers/bands/groups that love to worship so we don’t have to look far to find music to worship alongside of. Some wonder why we would want to spend time singing praises to God?

David gives us plenty of reasons in the next 5 verses….Psalm 100:1-5 NIVShout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.    Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Though we all need some down time relaxing from work etc., many of us waste a lot of time doing things that really don’t bring about any positive changes in our lives. We may watch too much  mindless t.v., listen to radio programs that may have very little long term positive impact on our lives or read articles that clog the mind with useless facts.

As followers of Christ spending time in our Bibles and prayer are vital and so is praise and worship.  Spending time in God’s presence in an atmosphere of praise and worship draws us closer to Him. We focus on who God is and the reasons we love Him so much.  I always come away from a time of worship and praise spiritually recharged!

If you haven’t made praise and worship a part of your life, it just may be time to do so.  You will grow deeper in your love for Christ as you spend time in His beautiful presence!

Long to Worship You

Long to Worship You (Photo credit: loswl)  Psalm 92:1 NIV 1 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High.

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In EVERYTHING give thanks

When trials and challenges come into our lives, we believers in Christ are often found complaining as if we are surprised that unpleasant things could be happening to us. I’m not referring to things that have come about as a direct result of sinful behavior or purposeful disregard. I’m referring to things that are often beyond our control. An example would be miscarrying or losing a child.  A cancer diagnosis etc.  Things that we ourselves have not brought about for the most part and have little to no control over.

Our first line of defence should be to go to God and seek His help. We also should get our church body to pray. Sometimes God chooses to perform a miracle and bring about perfect supernatural healing.  Most of us have known someone or of someone who has experienced this. Other times God allows us to go through the trial without supernatural healing or visual intervention. He is working no less on our behalf than if He had performed a physical miracle.

He knows our heart and knows the best way for us to grow. So than, should we have to walk through our trial or wait on our answer and not receive an instantaneous response with what attitude should we walk through it? .We can grumble and complain like others that don’t have the confidence of their Heavenly Father looking out for them, or we can do what the word of God tells us to do.  Put our trust in the one who created us and give thanks! Nowhere in the word does it say to give thanks in the good times and gripe in the difficult times. We are given very specific instructions that we need to be reminded of frequently…

Colossians 3:15 NIV15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL.

Can God’s word be any plainer than this?.. Phillipians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 NIV Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL.

Psalm 106:1 NIV Praise the Lord. Give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1Chronicles 23:30 NIV 30 They were also to stand every morning to THANK AND PRAISE the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Psalm 35:18 NIV 18 I will give you THANKS in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

And why should we always have an attitude of thankfulness and not grumble?   Because as Psalm 9;9,10 says, NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name TRUST IN YOU, for you, Lord,  HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU.

Grumbling and complaining never accomplishes anything helpful, in fact it may hinder our answer from God. It certainly hindered the Israelites when they were walking in the desert! (Exodus 16)  Before you open your mouth to complain, remember we have a Savior that was willing to lay down His life for us and provide a way for our salvation. We have MUCH to be thankful for! Not only did He die for us but He walks with us daily.  If you are walking in God’s will and He has permitted challenges in your life you can be sure He will see you through them.  In EVERYTHING give thanks!

Psalm 113:3 NIV 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Our Great Physician

When we believers get sick, often we do the same thing non believers do.  We try and deal with our sickness with the medical profession alone. Though doctors, nurses and all the other workers in the medical field are very necessary, we have another resource that many of us neglect to consult. That would be the Great Physician. There have been many times in my life that I went and sought out medical attention before I even consulted God. God has been reminding me lately, through His word, that our first place to turn should be to Him. He not only desires us to come to Him in good times but also in times of difficulty or illness. My desire is that I will grow to the point where I will seek Him first before looking elsewhere.

Any time I have sought God for help He has never ignored my request.  Answers have come in many different ways but He has never left me without help when I have asked Him for it. NEVER. He promises to hear the prayers of His children. He may use medical professionals in our journey of healing or He may not. My desire is that I go to Him first and ask for His guidance and healing. How He chooses to bring that about is up to Him but I want to seek Him first not last. There is an awesome promise in James that we need to remember.

James 5:14-16 NIV James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

What a beautiful promise!  My desire is to seek Him first and not as a last resort.

Exodus 23:25 NIV 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Psalm 103:2,3 NIV Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

1Peter 2:24 NIV 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Importance of Fellowship

There are so many things that keep us busy these days.   Jobs, family, volunteering and too many other things to list.  It doesn’t take too long before we can get bogged down with responsibilities. To keep on the right track and to keep joy in our lives we need to have a good prayer life and time spent in the word. These are two basics that keep our spiritual feet firmly on the ground. Along with these two things we also need fellowship. God didn’t create us to be islands. We need one another. We need the support of prayer and conversation from other believers. In the New Testament church, the apostles worked along side one another and encouraged each other as the need arose. This need hasn’t diminished but because many of us work outside the church the need is vital to have the support of believers to keep us walking right.

This past weekend we held our church picnic at our home and it was great to spend time having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no drama, no discord just a group of people that love God having a blast with one another. When we get to know each other better we are better equipped to pray and help one another.  We live in a world where many live and look out for themselves. In the church we need to be sure we don’t allow that to become our lifestyle.  God has called us all to serve.  If we get too bogged down we are not fit to help anyone. Having fellowship is vital. Whether it be a picnic, a potluck or a prayer meeting, we need one another.  It can help recharge our spiritual batteries and remind us we are not lone wolves but we are a body, a body that serves and encourages one another and that reaches out and serves our families, our communities and our world.

1Peter 4:9 NIV  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Galatians 5:13 NIV 1313 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Make time for fellowship.

Hurry Up and Wait..

Most people today live a very hurried and busy lifestyle.  Many of us have full time jobs and multiple responsibilities outside our homes along with the many responsibilities of the home and family itself. Whether we are single, married, with or without children or grandparents wanting to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren we are busy people. On top of this some of us our involved in activities/committees etc. at our churches.  Life is very very busy.  When we need something we can go online, pick up a catalogue or drop into a store and purchase it.  When we need information it can be found quite simply by typing in a request on our keyboards or dropping into a library.

We have become accustomed to living fast and receiving fast. When it comes to our relationship with God it is not always so.  I am learning to hurry up and wait… There are times when I bring a need or a desire of my heart to the Lord and He answers it within a day or so. There are other times when He chooses not to.  He is all knowing and all seeing.  I am NOT.  He always answers our prayers correctly. Sometimes the answer is quite simply NO, other times it may not come for days, weeks or even years. How we spend our time waiting on our answer is critical.  I believe the Lord is pleased when we rest in knowing He has it all under control. Fretting and stressing while we wait does nothing to see our prayer answered any faster. Resting and trusting gives allowance for our faith to grow. Abiding in His word and His love while we wait allows us to grow even closer to the lover of our soul.  It does NOT come natural for me to rest and trust but I am learning that it really is the only way to respond. Recently God has put people in my life to remind me of this very fact. Our vision is so limited and we cannot possibly know one iota of a fraction of a percentage of what God does and therefore are really in no position to try and force God’s hand.

He loves us.  This is something we can bank on! He is faithful. Another absolute. Therefore when we find ourselves growing impatient and annoyed at not seeing our prayers or desires answered when WE WANT them answered it is time to trust, rest and abide in His word.  He will never disappoint!

Isaiah 40:31 ESV  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 37:34 ESV “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.”

Psalm 62:5,6 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Complain less…Pray MORE

I suffered anxiety for a lot of my early life.  It was something that started in my early years and it just always seemed to be there.  When anything stressful would happen I would begin to worry and fret.  The only positive really was it used to send me into a cleaning frenzy!! However, the downside was too great…It would affect my sleep, I would be very short with those around me and it would cause me to overreact to any little thing when my anxiety level was high.

As a result of this I would complain about what those around me either weren’t doing or doing that was making things more difficult. I would get incredibly disappointed with those closest to me about things that were very insignificant.  I would gripe and complain and really it never accomplished anything!  I have learned there is a better way.  When something happens that is uncomfortable or difficult, when someone comes into my life that is particularly challenging I tell God on them.  🙂  Even bringing the issue to Him helps to keep it in perspective.  Most people behave badly because they feel badly inside or they harbor bitterness.  It doesn’t justify it but it does make it more understandable.  I am grateful that we have a high priest that we can turn to that forgives us and accepts us  when we screw up.  That fact alone helps me to be able to forgive others.

Though most of us spend years trying, we will NEVER be able to change anyone.  It is through prayer and the moving of the Spirit that true change comes.  Change that results in deep heart change.  Next time you come across a situation or person that causes you to feel anxious, stop and pray.  Tell Jesus on them!

Philippians 4:6-7 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”~ R. A. Torrey

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)